News / Asia

Anti-Nuclear Demonstrators Confront Japan's PM

Anti-nuclear demonstrators gather outside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's official residence in Tokyo, August 10, 2012.
Anti-nuclear demonstrators gather outside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's official residence in Tokyo, August 10, 2012.
TOKYO — Japan's prime minister -- as well as his predecessor who was in charge of the government during the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdowns -- met Wednesday with activists who have been organizing weekly protests in front of the prime minister's office. The encounter comes amid reports the government is considering phasing out all nuclear power reactors by the year 2030.

Restarting power reactors

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, meeting anti-nuclear activists face-to-face for the first time, told them he recently decided to restart two power reactors to protect peoples' livelihoods.

Noda says he made the decision from a comprehensive perspective but will continue to make every effort to ensure reactors coming back online are operating safely.   

The country temporarily shut down all of its nuclear power reactors after a huge earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011.

Also attending the meeting: Naoto Kan who was prime minister when three reactors in Fukushima suffered core meltdowns in last year's disaster.

Activist protest re-start

The attending members of the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes told the politicians their group opposes any reactor re-starts.

The grassroots organization has been organizing Friday evening protests in front of the prime minister's office, drawing tens of thousands of people.

A separate group has announced the launch of a nationwide campaign to pass legislation to abolish all nuclear power plants in the country on safety grounds.

One of its leaders, Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe, terms their quest critical for mankind.

Oe says nuclear power is against basic ethics so all reactors should be shut down immediately.

That is not going to happen. But to the surprise of many on both sides of the debate Japan's government is seriously looking at a phase-out of existing reactors by the year 2030.

The government is expected to announce its intentions next month ahead of parliamentary general elections, which are likely to be held before the end of the year.

Potential drawbacks to closure

Japan's largest circulation daily newspaper, in an editorial, chastised officials as irresponsible for considering the elimination of nuclear power.

The Yomiuri Shimbun says such an “extremely dangerous” energy policy would cause electricity bills to double, destroying Japan's steel industry. Unemployment would swell and the country's gross domestic product would plunge by about $650 billion.

The conservative newspaper also notes Japan is still promoting nuclear power abroad with Japanese companies recently winning tentative bids to construct reactors in Vietnam.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs